The list of healthcare workers urging Prime Minister Robert Abela not to abandon migrants at sea reached 500 on Friday.  

On Thursday, a letter to Abela had been signed by 300 doctors and other medical professionals, urging him to rethink the government position on migration.  

Just 24 hours later it was announced that a further 200 had signed the letter.  

On Wednesday at least five migrants who had been left stranded at sea between Malta and Libya died. They had been on board on of four boats left at sea for days after both Malta and Italy closed their ports to migrant rescues last week.  

The healthcare workers, including 260 doctors, are calling on the government to come to the aid of those whose lives are at risk at sea.

"If we allow the government to pay for public health with people’s lives, we will have failed in our obligations as citizens, healthcare workers, and as a nation," they insisted.

The doctor-and student-led initiative is supported by the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation.

31 Catholic groups lament government position

Meanwhile, also on Thursday a group of 31 Catholic organisations also lamented the government’s position on migrant rescues.  

"These are not the values that guided our nation and made us who we are. As Christians we need to be reminded that Jesus is on those boats,” they said. 

While acknowledging concerns over limitations of posed by the nation’s size and the risks associated with an uncontrolled influx of migrants, the groups said the government should not allow these concerns to be a justification for leaving "our brothers and sisters" in hardship and mortal peril, even more so when these fall within the search and rescue responsibilities of Malta. 

 "We are therefore shocked at the decision taken by the Government to deny support to migrants in distress in our search and rescue area, merely on the pretext that our ports have been closed for everyone due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” they said. 

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.